Bournemouth host Southampton in a south coast derby in the last eight of the FA Cup at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday (12:15pm; TV: Live on BT Sport 1).
This is the furthest Bournemouth have gone in the FA Cup since 1957 and they are the only remaining side from outside the top flight. They are aiming to become the first Championship team since Reading in 2015 to make it through to the final four.
Bournemouth’s route here has been a pretty kind one. They eliminated League Two sides Oldham and Crawley Town in the third and fourth rounds respectively before then knocking out Premier League opposition in form of Burnley in the last 16.
Sam Surridge gave them an early lead, and while their hosts probably created enough to force an equaliser, Asmir Begovic made a couple of crucial saves and Bournemouth otherwise weathered the storm. Their place in the last eight was sealed when Junior Stanislas converted a late penalty after Surridge had been upended inside the area.
That was the second match of Jonathan Woodgate’s then temporary time as head coach following Jason Tindell’s dismissal in early February, a position he earned until the end of the season with three wins and a draw across his first five matches at the helm. The former England international has since overseen another three wins, one draw and two defeats.
Wednesday’s impressive 3-0 win at home to Swansea moved Bournemouth back to the edge of the top six and the playoff place it yields.
The aforementioned Stanislas and ex-Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke are the team’s primary attacking threats. Both are in double figures for goals in league play. Adam Smith and David Brooks provide much of the remaining creative threat, with five assists apiece.
Can they upset the FA odds and make it through to the final four? Opponents Southampton certainly aren’t in the best of form. Since their FA Cup fifth round triumph over fellow Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers in mid-February, they have lost five out of seven, conceding two goals a match on average whilst scoring one.
As their long odds (as high as 40/1) suggest, Saints are not in any real danger of relegation. Four teams and seven points currently separate them from the bottom three. It does feel as if they have gone somewhat off course as the season has progressed. Unlike last season, when they had very solid underlying numbers, their metrics are pretty much right in line with their current position. Upward momentum has been lost.
In reality, a strong FA Cup run is the only potential bright spot. Saints reached the semi-finals in 2017-18, only to lose out to eventual winners Chelsea. After seeing off Shrewsbury Town of League One, they have had to go through two top-flight teams, Arsenal and then Wolves, to make it through to the last eight of this year’s competition.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were deserved winners against Wolves. They got off eight shots to the one of their hosts in the first half. Having already created two presentable chances in the opening exchanges of the second half, they finally went ahead through Danny Ings. They had the better opportunities thereafter and sealed the win late on through Stuart Armstrong.
The result is a quarter-final tie with a fellow south coast side. The two of them were fairly evenly matched across their 10 meetings as Premier League teams between 2015 and Bournemouth’s relegation at the end of last season. Southampton won four times to Bournemouth’s two, with the other four encounters ending in draws.
Their status as a top-flight team automatically makes Southampton the favourites for Saturday’s match, and probably deservedly so. However they are in such a rotten run of form that it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Bournemouth were to upset the odds and make it through to the final four. That looks the more attractive bet. So our FA Cup match betting tip for this preview is:
- Back Bournemouth to win @ 3/1 with one of the top UK bookies shown at that price in the odds table below.
Compare Match odds for Bournemouth vs Saints’ FA Cup Tie